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Looking Back, Moving Forward: Celebrating CN’s 100th & Modernizing Interchange

Anniversaries are a time of reflection and celebration of the past and this is true for me on my one-year anniversary at the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) and even more so for CN and its very significant anniversary this year. On behalf of all our members, I would like to congratulate CN on its 100th anniversary and its many accomplishments over those years. There are so many significant moments in the storied history of CN but I only have space to highlight a few key milestones:

  • June 6, 1919, an act of Parliament incorporated CN by combining several railroads. More railroads were added including Grand Trunk Pacific in 1923 and the absorption of Central Vermont Railway in 1927.
  • CN was privatized in 1995, turning it into a publicly held corporation with traded stock.
  • Beginning in 1999, a series of acquisitions throughout the United States helped deepen market access and allow Canadian businesses to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  • The building and opening of two state-of-the-art employee training centres where a new generation of railroaders can learn the skills they need for a safe and successful career at CN.
  • Today, CN is a transportation services provider with about 27,000 employees and a 20,000 route-mile network in Canada and mid-America.

A hundred years ago, railroads such as CN were at the forefront of pioneering changes to transportation to the benefit of the country. CN’s history is closely tied to Canada’s economic and social development, and now to that of North America. This year marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and CN played an important role in moving Canadian troops and military equipment in our war efforts; many Canadian soldiers traveled on CN trains on their way for overseas deployment.

These are just a few moments in time for CN. I invite you to visit www.cn100.ca/en/ to discover, explore and celebrate the people, places and events that helped make CN what they are today.

Turning to RAC, it has been a year since I became President and CEO. While it is a chance to reflect on our work of the past year, I’m focussed on ways we can innovate and do better to meet the needs of our members today and into the future. One such improvement is with this magazine, Interchange. We have decided to stop producing a print version and move it to an on-line publication starting with the next issue. Not only will it be more efficient and economical to produce and distribute, it will be a better user experience. Readers will be able to download, share and engage with the content, something that they are already doing with on-line content from other platforms. It’s time to modernize your experience with Interchange.

What doesn’t change is the reason we have Interchange in the first place. It will continue to connect RAC to our members, providing substantive updates about our advocacy work on their behalf. It will continue to connect industry suppliers with our railways. It will continue to be one of the ways that we tell our success stories to key audiences — strengthening the reputation of our industry and the contributions it makes to national priorities such as economic growth, safer transportation, and environmental goals.

As with all anniversaries, once the memories have been shared and the celebrations completed, the focus then shifts to the future. I certainly can’t predict what the next 100 years will look like for our industry, but I am confident that our members will continue to build upon their successes. At RAC, we too have a strong foundation upon which to build. Our goal is to anticipate future challenges and opportunities and make the changes and innovations now that are needed to stay relevant in the years to come.

I hope you enjoy this last print edition of Interchange and that you will follow us as we turn the page, so to speak, to the on-line version. Thank you for your on-going engagement with RAC and I look forward to your feedback on this and other initiatives.

Marc Brazeau

President & CEO